AFP-PNP mercenaries and Duterte death squads responsible for spate of killings in Visayas

AFP-PNP mercenaries and Duterte death squads responsible for spate of killings in Visayas

Anakpawis party-list today strongly condemned the extrajudicial killing of local village council and peasant advocate Harold ‘Bornok’ Tablazon and his companion Glen Bunda, in Tabungan, Iloilo. According to news report of local media Panay Today, Tablazon and Bunda were onboard a motorcycle when they were ambushed on Saturday evening. Both victims suffered multiple gunshot wounds, and 32 empty bullet slugs of .9mm and six .45 caliber were found on the crime scene.

Before being elected as a village councilor of Brgy. Ago in Tubungan town, Tablazon was a long time peasant organizer of the Federation of Iloilo Farmers Association (FIFA), an affiliate organization of Pamanggas-KMP, the regional chapter of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) in Panay region.
Tablazona and Bunda were both working as solar panel installers in Panay region. Tablazona’s killing is being linked to the June 15 ambush of Master Sergeant Arnel Paurillo of the Tubungan Municipal Police Station who was allegedly punished by the New People’s Army.

‘We blame the current spate of extrajudicial killings to the Duterte government’s Memorandum Order No. 32, the Executive Order No. 70 and the AFP’s rabid anti-insurgency campaign Oplan Kapayapaan that also targets mass activists, former activists, and government critics. The AFP and PNP are continously operationalizing their death squads and targeting civilians who have activist background. We blame the 61st IBPA of the 3rd Infantry Division and the PNP Ilolo for the latest killings. We believe that they got everything do with Tablazona and Bunda’s ambush in the same way that state forces and mercenaries are responsible for the killing of peasant leader John Farochilin and Bayan Muna leader Jory Porquia,” says KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos.

Back in February 2020, PNP chief Archie Francisco Gamboa said they will launch offensives and go after ‘specific targets’ linked to the CPP-NPA in retaliation to the killing of Regional Mobile Force Reconnaissance Company leader Capt. Efren Espanto, Jr. Likewise, the 61st IBPA under the 3rd Infantry Division is also on a spree of fabricating ‘fake encounters with the NPA’ while actually targeting farmers in hinterland peasant communities. The latest was the fake encounter in the boundaries Brgy. Tigbanaba and Sityo Mahi, Corucuan, in Igbaras town in Iloilo.

For his part, former Anakpawis solon Ariel Casilao said the looming enactment of Duterte’s Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 will further intensify human rights violations across the country, and human rights workers, farmers, and sectors asserting for democratic rights could be among the most vulnerable targets.

“Peasants and rights defenders in the entire Panay and Negros islands have yet to achieve justice — numerous victims of Sagay, Guihulngan and Negros 14 Massacres, the killings of lawyers Ben Ramos and Anthony Trinidad, and many more remain unresolved political killings. Peasant activists Marlon Madlos and Allan Aguilando were also recently killed in Bohol and Northern Samar, respectively. The killings of across Visayas are worsening as the NTF-ELCAC also intensifies its redtagging and vilification campaign against activist peoples organizations,’ Casilao said.

Anakpawis and KMP demand immediate and impartial investigation on the brutal killing of village councilor Tablazon and Bunda and the spate of killings in Iloilo. ###

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